Letter: Money for coastal land denied
I am disappointed that, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy's devastation, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to block the use of relief funds for potential land acquisition, a critical component to coastal recovery and restoration.
Superstorm Sandy destroyed much of the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern buffer zones that protect coastal lands, wildlife refuges, and beaches. These areas defend our coastlines and coastal communities and must be safeguarded against the worst extreme weather events in the future.
The path to an efficient, effective recovery will likely require strategic purchases of flood-prone and damaged areas in and around public lands like the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge (in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New hampshire and Vermont). This would reduce current and future restoration costs and help the surrounding land better handle adverse weather conditions.
Sandy's victims deserve to have all of the tools necessary for recovery at their disposal, but the House of Representatives prevented the federal government from using relief funds to acquire land that could help maintain and improve essential buffer areas. Thankfully, Connecticut's entire House delegation -- U.S. Reps. Jim Himes, John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro and Elizabeth Esty -- all voted to protect vulnerable coastal areas.
We now look to our Senators, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, to support the role that land acquisition plays in disaster recovery and restoration -- and to vote against similar legislation moving forward.